Jobline LMU

Breadcrumb Navigation


Writing and talking about the past in your job application

Back to: Tenses

Use the past simple in your job application to talk about


 Things that finished in the past.

  • The internship I did at Felling Ltd. two years ago gave me valuable experience in accountancy practice in the UK.
  • Did you do an internship in Scotland last summer?
  • I didn't take the job at Siemens last year even though the starting salary was very good.
Past habits – for example, things you sometimes, regularly or always used to do, but you don't do any more.
  • During the first two years of my degree, I regularly participated in the business English courses offered to students of business and economics.

 Use the present perfect in your job application to talk about


Things that started in the past and have not yet finished.

  • I have worked for several companies, including my present job as an operations assistant at Patrizia AG.
  • Have you had any offers from other companies?
  • I haven't finished my internship at Siemens yet.

Things that started in the past and have only recently finished, and have (1) important results or (2) immediate implications for the present.

  • Our research project, which was completed last June, has won two awards. (1)
  • I have completed my degree in Media and Communications and am now looking for employment in this field. (2)

Talking about life experiences without a past time indication.

  • I have attended three courses in Microbiology.
  • I have visited many European cities including London and Berlin.



1. Time expressions with the past simple and present perfect

specific time + ago
"Ago" is used with the past simple. It describes something that took place and finished at a particular time in the past.
  • I took my finals three months ago. (ago = vor)
since + specific time
If you want to say when you started doing something that you are still doing, use "since" + a specific time with the present perfect.
You can emphasise the ongoing period of time by using "since" + a specific time with the present perfect continuous.
  • I have worked part-time for Audi since January. (since = seit)
  • I have been studying Chemistry since 20XX (since = seit).
since clauses
With this use of "since", the "since" clause usually contains the past simple and the main clause contains the present perfect.
  • Since I started university, I have done two internships locally. (since = seitdem)
for + period of time
If you want to say how long you have done something or did something, use "for" + a period of time. If the period of time is finished, use the past simple. If the period of time is unfinished, use the present perfect:
  • I studied medicine at Munich University for two years, but then I changed to Heidelberg. (for = für zwei Jahre or zwei Jahre lang)
  • I have studied medicine at Munich University for two years and I am still studying there. (for = seit)


2. In CVs we often use a reduced form of the past simple to describe our previous work experience.

Tour guide for Regio Bamberg GmbH

  • (I) designed tours to meet individual customer requirements
  • (I) conveyed historical knowledge in an entertaining way both in English and German
  • (I) established good relationships with visitors

Back to: Tenses